The Cuddle Blanket

On Shabbat, I spend time with my family. Sometimes it involves coming to TOR and participating in a great program like Taste of Torah. Sometimes, we go to the park for a picnic, or play games at home. When it is cold or rainy outside, we turn on the fire and snuggle together for warmth and connection. When I was little, my family had a huge comforter that we called the “cuddle blanket.” Whenever my brother and I would fight, Mom would make us sit together on the cuddle blanket and work it out. There was no fighting allowed on the cuddle blanket. Only love and hugs. When I had my first son, Gabriel, I vowed to make a cuddle blanket. I cut out squares for the top, I even sewed some of it together during that first year of his life. It took until my youngest, Gideon, was two before it actually was finished (Gabriel was 6)! Now, it is a sock monkey themed queen-sized quilt-topped duvet cover that holds a down comforter. On cold mornings, I find my kids on the couch wrapped up tight in the cuddle blanket reading together or watching TV. It’s a lovely sight to see. Our children learn by watching, mimicking, following, practicing… What are we teaching them with our actions and examples? When I feel frustration that my kids aren’t behaving as I would like them too, I try to reflect on what I need to do to be a better example for them.

In my job, I try to take Mondays to kind of relax and recharge. Things are really hopping around TOR and it’s good to take a moment to stop and reflect on the past week and weekend. I sit and think about what kinds of programs we offered this week and how many people did I see spending time together in friendship and kehilla. I think about what is happening in the coming weeks and how we can get the word out so that more people can experience the great satisfaction that comes from being connected to something with value and meaning. A lot of that publicity comes from you! If you have been coming to events and classes and just being involved and you have found value in that connection to TOR, tell your friends! Bring a friend next time! If you are trying to decide whether spending more time here is worth your while, let me tell you – IT IS! Just come and see for yourself!


++++++++++++++++++++++ NEEDS ++++++++++++++++++++++++

We need POTATOES! The men’s club will be frying up their fabulous latkes again this year for our Religious School Hanukkah Celebration. Please bring potatoes to help them out! We need all potato donations on December 6th.

We also need a few specific items for the food closet at TOR. If you could bring any of the following, please do so: Tuna, canned chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Ramen noodles


Things are calming down, a little bit… but I’ll give you the events through December so you can make sure they are all on your calendar!

Book Fair – Until November 21st. We have extended the book fair to Saturday, November 21st. If you haven’t already grabbed a few bargains, please come by and pick some up! Also, we have a couple of wish lists for the teachers. If you are looking for a nice Hanukkah gift for your child’s teacher, swing by my office and look at the list. You can also email or call me and I can reserve the books for you to purchase the next time you are at the temple.

Hanukkah Gifts – November 25th – December 6th – We have menorahs, dreidels, candles and gelt! If you need any special gifts for your Hanukkah celebration, there will be an expanded gift shop sale in the foyer. Come get your candles and gelt from TOR!

November 18th – Teen OR, Hebrew School and Parent Meeting for 7th Grade students. 7th Grade Parents, please plan to be here at 7:30pm for a brief meeting regarding our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program.

November 20th – Tot Shabbat – I will be leading Tot Shabbat this week with Carol. Join us at 6pm for a fun Shabbat service geared for the little ones.

November 21 – November 29 – NO SCHOOL – Thanksgiving Break

December 2nd – Hebrew School and Madrichim Training

December 4th – Family Shabbat featuring the 1st grade class – Join us for the regular Shabbat service at 6:45 and enjoy a special presentation from our 1st grade students. Services are followed by an Oneg Shabbat with a special treat for the kids.

December 6th – TASTY Bites Hanukkah Party 4pm to 6pm – Celebrate Hanukkah with your friends as our junior youth group gets started! TASTY Bites is for grades 6 and 7. Contact Eden for more information –

December 6th – 13th – Hanukkah

December 11th – Hanukkah Shabbat @ 6:45pm – bring your menorah and light the sixth candle with your TOR family at services.

December 12th – Loco for Latkes: A TASTY Hanukkah Party – 6pm to 9pm – Calling all Teenagers! Don’t miss our wacky Hanukkah celebration! Bring a $10 gift card for the gift exchange game.

December 13th – Hanukkah Celebration – 9am-12pm – Games, food, crafts, fun – all during religious school.


School Update


This week’s Torah portion, Jacob and Esau, isn’t the easiest one to teach to the little ones. Frankly, it’s a bit confusing for me as well. Jacob and Esau are twins and the gist of the story is that Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright. Jacob goes on to be one of our patriarchs while Esau leaves home forever. Not the best topic for 4 and 5 year olds. However, the preK/Kinder class talked about how even though Jacob and Esau were twins, they were both unique and there was something special about each one of them. They made posters listing and drawing/coloring the different traits that are special about them and what makes them unique. Ask them to tell you about their special drawings.

Then, they learned a little about Hanukkah and decorated dreidels to include in the gift baskets that we are sending off to our TOR College kids.

1st Grade Class

This week, the 1st graders started to learn about Hanukkah. The next class will be the first night of Hanukkah so they began a neat project painting Hanukkah symbols. They will complete the project next class. They also learned more Hebrew letters and numbers.

Ask them about the Hanukkah story and the letters and numbers they have learned in Hebrew. Have them sing you one of the songs they have been learning in class!

2nd and 3rd Grade Class

The second grade class is having a great time learning their Hebrew letters and pairing them with vowels to make different sounds. This week they had fun with the letters gimmel, dalet, zayin, tet, and chet. Have them show you the crafts they have made with the letters.

The students have also started learning the blessings for the Hanukkah candles. See if they can say them for you! We will have one more time to practice before we light the candles for the first night!!

4th and 5th Grade Class

Hopefully you got Sara’s update on Sunday. I have to say, the kids are doing a great job at tefillah, leading the beginning of various prayers. I know it is challenging for them, learning a new language is always difficult. I am so very proud of their progress already! I can’t wait to watch them continue to grow!

6th Grade Class

The sixth grade continues to really delve into some great topics with Barry. This week they looked at four more of the reasons it’s great to be Jewish. They discussed the Mishna, Moses Maimonides and the famous 8 levels of Giving, and they began a discussion on Hanukkah and how it fits into the Jewish calendar. A few students still have not chosen a famous Jewish singer/musician for their project. Please ask your student who they have chosen to create their poster about. The class also continued to read from Elie Wiesel’s Night.

7th Grade Class

This week, the seventh grade met in the library and continued to work on their prayers. Paul was here and individually assessed all of the students. We will provide more information about the results of these assessments and our plan of action at the meeting on Wednesday. I hope to see at least one parent per student/family in attendance.

Remember to encourage your child to continue to practice nightly using the many resources they have at their disposal.


I hope the rest of your week is wonderful and that everyone has a filling Thanksgiving!